Ban Klang village in Chiang Khan District, Loei province, Thailand is located next to the Mekong River near the border between Laos and Thailand. Living there are more than 300 households, in a village that will disappear if Thailand builds the planned Khong-Loei-Chi-Mun water diversion project. Local people are concerned about the risks the project will cause for their lives such as: homes flooded, fish populations and crops declining, and village resettlement.
My trip to Songkhla in the south of Thailand earlier this week was not a typical sightseeing jaunt, but it was certainly worthwhile.
My destination was not Muang district which is famous for its old-town quarters or Hat Yai, the well-known shopping district of the southern region, but a pristine beach in Thepa’s tambon Pak Bang which is the designated site for a controversial coal-fired power plant.
USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) has invited public comment on the draft Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), via mekongcitizen.org/EIA. These regional EIA guidelines have been developed by the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) on EIA in response to the shared concern for how to increase meaningful public participation in development planning, particularly in the context of rising levels of investment for development projects across the Mekong region.
USAID partners have launched an innovative data portal in Myanmar. OpenDevelopmentMyanmar.net will be used to aggregate and promote key development and environmental data about Myanmar, especially data with potential regional significance. The platform is the Myanmar sub-site of the major regional open data platform, OpenDevelopmentMekong.net, which gathers and contextualizes objective data on development trends in the Mekong region.
A global moratorium commencing in 2017 on new fossil-fuel power plants without carbon-capture technology is an option. It would have to be accompanied by grants and cheap international loans to help countries that cancel fossil-fuel power plants to rapidly develop energy efficiency, solar and wind.
CONSTRUCTION of the Thepa coal-fired power plant is set to begin in the second quarter of next year, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) said, even though many locals have refused to sell their land despite facing threats.
Egat has so far insisted that it will build the 2,200-megawatt power plant in Songkhla’s Thepa district, despite strong protests from local people. The Environment and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) for both the plant and coal transport has also not been approved by the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning Office (ONEP).
A weekly update of news, commentary and resources on Mekong development projects, investment, EIAs and other development issues. We include a balanced and representative range of news and views from local, regional and global sources. The Digest reaches around 3500 key development professionals, government officials, business leaders and journalists.
Concerned about a series of dams planned along the Salween River, the Save the Salween Network has raised objections to the formation of the Hydropower Developer’s Working Group (HDWG) in Burma by the International Finance Cooperation (IFC), claiming it will assist investors while sidestepping potential negative outcomes of the dams for thousands of ethnic minority groups.
The Salween River is one of the largest free flowing rivers in the world with many largely isolated groups living alongside it.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the private sector launched the first working group for Myanmar’s hydropower sector. The Hydropower Developers’ Working Group (HDWG), first established in Lao PDR in late-2013, is the only platform exclusively for hydropower companies and industry-related professionals to influence policy and identify solutions to improve upon sustainability and business operations in Myanmar.
Over 100 stakeholders from Myanmar’s hydropower sector including companies, civil society organizations, financial institutions and government officials attended the working group’s first General Forum today in Yangon. The interim executive committee presented the working group’s agenda focusing on strengthening private sector relations with the government and highlighting the best practices and policies needed to develop projects sustainably. The committee comprises local and international hydropower companies and consultants operating in Myanmar.